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Mario Andretti visits Monza for the first time since 1983

Sep 4, 2014, 1:20 PM EST

Racing legend and 1978 Formula 1 world champion Mario Andretti returned to Monza today for the first time in 31 years, bringing an American feel to the paddock in promotion of the United States Grand Prix.

Andretti last came to Monza in 1983, but it is a track that holds great significance. This is where he first watched a Formula 1 race in 1954, and also where he clinched the 1978 world championship. However, on the same weekend as his title victory, his teammate and close friend Ronnie Peterson was killed in an accident. Coming back to Monza fills Andretti with mixed emotions, and he spoke about this during a track walk with NBCSN’s Will Buxton which you can watch during our broadcast this weekend.

This weekend, he is back in town to promote the United States GP which will be held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas this November. Appropriately, he has brought a number of Stetson hats with him, which were given out to the drivers in the paddock on Thursday.

Andretti also commentated on a sim race between Buxton and Force India’s Sergio Perez later in the day (and yes, Force India, that’s something we thought you would never tweet).

Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Alexander Rossi, Valtteri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Eric Vergne were just some of the drivers to chat with Andretti and don a Stetson. Check out some of the pictures below.

The United States Grand Prix takes place at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas between October 31st and November 2nd. For more information, be sure to visit www.circuitoftheamericas.com.

  1. crunge4461 - Sep 4, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    Really cool!

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